“If not this year, then when?”

In Conversation with Your 2024 Walk with Israel Chairs

UJA’s annual Walk with Israel is coming up. And it might just be our most important Walk yet. Chairing the beloved community event is not one but three couples–Tamar Zagdanski Weisbrod & Max Weisbrod, Jennie & Josh Zagdanski, and Madeleine Venn-Mitchell & Ari Zagdanski. Tamar, Josh, Jennie, and Madeleine joined UJA’s Rebecca Ostroff to chat all things Walk.

How did you feel when you were approached to chair this year’s Walk?

Tamar: We couldn’t say no. Given the year, we felt the importance of contributing to a united community, and we all want to make this a meaningful Walk.

Josh: Many of us have been going to the Walk since we were kids. For all of us, it’s an event that is part of our Jewish identity in Toronto.

Madeleine: It’s about individuals and families coming together to share a moment of community. And I think this year, more than ever, people feel that need to send a message to the world that we, as a community, stand together in times of need.

Jennie: We’re seeing people who have never been to the Walk planning to come out this year. And we are very excited to see that. Also, this is a family-friendly event. We're going to walk with our kids, proud to be Jewish and proud to support Israel. This is the year to truly make it the biggest and best it can be. I would honestly say, if not this year then when?

How is this year’s Walk experience different than previous years?

Josh: The Walk has been an annual event in Toronto for 55 years. The location changes, the activities and rests stops change, but the spirit of the Walk doesn’t. This year, after the Walk itself, there’s going to be a Solidarity Festival for everyone to attend.

Tamar: We're trying to appeal to all age groups. It's really a broad spectrum this year. There's something for everybody. It will be both fun and meaningful, in keeping with the tone of what's going on in the world today.

What would you say to people beyond the Jewish community who feel moved to join this year’s Walk?

Josh: YES. You are welcome and we appreciate you. It’s always been important, but it's even more meaningful now to have allies. Almost everyone in our community has been touched by October 7th and what’s happened in Israel since then. We need to share our messages and let others know. And if you’re trying to engage allies in your lives, get out there and speak to people. Our experience has been, if you tell anybody what you're doing and why you're doing it, they are going to want to support you. Make it personal. Make a phone call.

Any final words about the Walk?

Tamar: I think it’s important to communicate that the funds raised are going directly to Israel. I just got back from a week in Israel. Seeing the support that is urgently needed there should strengthen our commitments.

Madeleine: Also: This is a peaceful event. This isn't a protest. This is not political. This is an event that has been going on for decades. It’s about community, family, and solidarity. It’s about stepping up, together, and helping where help is needed.

Jennie: And it's a celebration of the country we love. We’re excited to Walk together. We hope you are too.


Excited to Walk with us on June 9? Register now at www.walkwithisrael.com